Top things to do in Nagano

Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Nagano

Zenkō-ji

Founded in the 7th century, National Treasure Zenkō-ji is home to the revered statue Ikkō-Sanzon, said to be the first Buddhist image to arrive in Japan (AD 552). Not even 37 generations of emperors have seen the im…
Top Choice Japanese in Nagano

Banikuman

This is the place to come to try a Nagano speciality: horse meat. Try it raw as basashi for ¥1480, in a shabu-shabu (hotpot) course for ¥3000 or grilled for ¥2200. Don't be confused if you hear the words sakura-niku…
Top Choice Fusion in Nagano

Fujiya Gohonjin

Gohonjin means 'a residence for the lords', and in the Edo period Fujiya Gohonjin played host to the feudal lords of the Maeda family. The present 1925 building was Nagano's Hotel Fujiya but has since been transform…
Top Choice Bar in Nagano

James' Nagano Beer Market

This extremely popular beer hall–type place is upstairs only a couple of minutes' walk from Nagano Station. Plenty of beer and wine from around the globe are on offer, but tops are the Shiga Kōgen Highland Ales from…
Top Choice Pub in Nagano

Shinshū Nagaya Sakaba

This lively izakaya (pub-restaurant) isn't far from the station and should be on your to-do list. You'll spot it by all the sake barrels plastered around the corner building – bring your sake-tasting gear because yo…
Cafe in Nagano

India the Spice

This cafe is festooned with every kind of wall clock imaginable, and it specialises in variations on the theme of curry; lunch set menus include omu-karē (rice wrapped in an omelette in keema curry sauce). Look for …
Soba in Nagano

Fujiki-an

Fujiki-an has been making fresh soba in the north of Nagano Prefecture since 1827, but you wouldn't know it by the clean, contemporary lines of this outlet. Seiro-mori soba (cold soba on a bamboo mat) lets the flavo…
Japanese in Nagano

Yayoiza

This establishment just before the gates to Zenkō-ji has been serving seiro-mushi (ingredients steamed in a wood-and-bamboo box) for over 150 years. The standard is monzen seiro-mushi (local beef and vegetables). Fo…
Japanese in Nagano

Marusei Shokudo

A stone's throw from Zenkō-ji, unassuming Marusei Shokudo serves soba and tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlets), among other dishes; the generous Marusei bentō (boxed meal; ¥1380) lets you try both.
Religious in Nagano

Gokaichō Matsuri

Five million pilgrims come to Zenkō-ji every seven years from early April to mid-May to view a copy of Zenkō-ji's sacred Buddha image – the only time it can be seen. The festival will next be held in 2022.